In the dynamic landscape of modern marketing, brands are continually seeking innovative ways to engage with their audience. Two technologies that have been making waves in the marketing world are Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Both provide immersive experiences that have the potential to transform how consumers interact with brands. In this post, we’ll delve into how these technologies are used in marketing, how to choose between them, the platforms that support them, best practices for their use, and some successful campaign examples.

The Power of AR and VR in Experiential Marketing

The essence of AR and VR lies in their ability to provide immersive, experiential design. This is a growing trend in marketing that includes tactics like popups, booths, and temporary museums. Using VR, brands can take these experiences one step further by fully immersing visitors in their brand’s universe. VR is also increasingly used in video-centric digital marketing campaigns, featuring renderings and 360-degree videos that offer consumers an all-encompassing view of the brand’s world.

AR, on the other hand, has a history stretching back over 20 years, and its applications are as varied as they are fascinating. From the blue line of scrimmage seen in broadcasted football games to social media filters on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, AR is embedded in our everyday lives. AR is also being used in gamification, providing engaging experiences that integrate real-world scenarios and environments.

AR vs VR: Which One Should You Choose?

While both AR and VR offer unique benefits, the choice between the two should be guided by your marketing campaign’s end goals. If your objective is to interact with the actual world, products, and objects around you, AR is a strong choice. But if your goal is to provide full immersion into a crafted universe, VR is your go-to technology.

Platforms and Channels for VR/AR

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always need standalone devices or bulky headsets to leverage AR/VR. These technologies can be successfully deployed using traditional desktops or mobile devices. For instance, AR can use the camera on a phone or tablet, while VR can be used on common smartphones with the addition of a portable viewer like the Google Cardboard.

Popular platforms that support VR/AR campaigns include Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo. These platforms offer 360-degree video options that mimic the immersion provided by VR headsets. AR features, on the other hand, are particularly effective on mobile apps, allowing users to view the “real” world through their phones and then add virtual components to their view.

Best Practices for AR/VR in Marketing

Implementing AR/VR in your marketing strategy may seem daunting, but following a few best practices can make the transition smoother.

  1. Create a Unique Experience: AR/VR campaigns should transport users to a world or adventure that they wouldn’t normally experience.
  2. Be Personal: AR/VR have the ability to directly engage users into a storyline or experience. Personalize as much as you can.
  3. Think Big: Reflect your brand’s mission and long-term goals in your virtual experience.
  4. Incorporate Humanity: Use AR/VR to communicate your business’s viewpoint, or show the heart and soul of your brand to customers.
  5. Show Users, Don’t Tell: Design a virtual world that users can explore and learn from on their own, minimizing text and explanatory voiceovers.

Successful AR/VR Marketing Campaigns

Several brands have successfully used AR/VR in their marketing campaigns. For example, McDonald’s transported NASCAR fans to the racetrack during the 2016 Sprint Cup Series with a VR experience. Under Armour allowed users to tour